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Nigerian Troops Kill 12 Militants, Drive Gunmen From Oil Facility

The Nigerian military says it has killed 12 militants in a raid to free an occupied oil facility in the southern Niger Delta region.

Military spokesman Omale Ochaguwuba says troops took control of the Ogbainbiri flow station in Bayelsa state during the early-morning raid Thursday. He says four soldiers were hurt in the fighting.

The spokesman says the troops also rescued 10 hostages the militants seized when they occupied the station on Sunday. The Italian oil company ENI had said that 27 people were being held at the facility. It is not clear what happened to the other hostages or if the original number was incorrect.

Kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities have become common in the Niger Delta, where militants are demanding that local villages get more of the region's oil wealth.

Residents there are largely impoverished despite the billions of dollars the government and oil companies reap from oil production.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has sought to ease tensions in the region since his inauguration last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.